Scientist Utilizing Nanotechnology to Improve the Food Safety and Nutrition RELEASED AT THE 2011 IFT ANNUAL MEETING & FOOD EXPO

June 14, 2011

NEW ORLEANS – Food scientists are hoping to utilize nanotechnology to improve food nutrition, quality, safety and taste, according to panelists Tuesday at the Institute of Food Technologists' 2011 Annual Meeting & Food Expo.

Nanotechnology is the understanding and control of miniscule atoms and molecules called nanoparticles. A nanoparticle is between 1 and 1,000 nanometers; a single nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. The science is currently being used in engineering, manufacturing, medicine, and most notably, in the delivery of cancer fighting drugs to hard-to-reach tumors.

Food scientists hope to harness nanotechnology to improve food design, processing, protection and convenience, said Cristina Sabliov, associate professor in the Biological and Engineering Department at Louisiana State University. Food producers also hope to extract, deliver and control the release of important nutrients, and even mask their unpleasant taste.

Specifically, Sabliov has been studying the use of nanotechnology to improve the delivery and absorption of vitamin E in the human body. Her recent research involves extracting vitamin E from rice, and successfully delivering the nutrient via a nanoparticle more directly into the body and improving absorption.

Nanotechnology cannot be used in food production until safety concerns are “disproved and tackled,” said Sabliov. “Once delivery systems are perfected, and safety is ensured,” nanotechnology can be used to deliver nutrients, and even medication.

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About IFT

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a nonprofit scientific society. Our individual members are professionals engaged in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT's mission is to advance the science of food, and our long-range vision is to ensure a safe and abundant food supply, contributing to healthier people everywhere.

For more than 70 years, the IFT has been unlocking the potential of the food science community by creating a dynamic global forum where members from more than 100 countries can share, learn, and grow. We champion the use of sound science across the food value chain through the exchange of knowledge, by providing education, and by furthering the advancement of the profession. IFT has offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit ift.org.

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